Christmas After All, January 2014

They told me I didn’t need to do Christmas this year. They assured me ‘no tree’. They said that if any presents were bought, it would be toys and they would be bought by Grandpa.

I didn’t believe them.

And I was right.

In my last article, I mentioned that I had had a at long discussion with the kids (curled up on the couch) and that they all agreed with me: “No Christmas.”

Well, apparently, after that, they woke up. And talked to Grandpa.

“We’re having a Christmas Celebration on the Epiphany. Well, actually the day before, since the 6th of January is a Monday.” I was told.

At least they didn’t call it ‘Fakemas.’

“You don’t have to do anything.” they assured me.


I was not really sure that my husband would buy toys. You see, our middle grandson, recently dubbed snotty-boy, got a cold the week before real Christmas. Snotty-boy is a very affectionate and giving child. And Grandpa is his favorite person, ever.

Need I say more?

Actually, let me digress. After Christmas, I had a real vacation coming to me. Two of the grandchildren were headed out to visit the other grandparents in Bloomington, Indiana, and my daughter assured me that she could make babysitting arrangements for the aforementioned snotty-boy. I urged my husband to book us tickets for a week in Key West Florida. I pictured sand, sun and lots of little umbrella thingys.

My husband blew his nose.

“I think I just want a week of rest.” he replied, hoarsely coughing. “Plane flights give me colds.”

Then, after seeing my expression, he improvised a bit. “We’ll do day trips. I want to go to the Atlantic Spice Company on the Cape. Plus, I still have tickets to the De Lux Level at Patriot Place. And…” he added beguilingly…”we could clean and organize the house. Get rid of those things we don’t need.”

Who wouldn’t just swoon?

So the plan was for a stay-in-place vacation. I admit that stay-in-place vacations do appeal to my inner swamp yankee.

Still, I didn’t realize that my husband’s idea of a stay-in-place vacation only involved the couch, blankets and lots and lots of kleenex tissues. Our trips to the De Lux level movies, to the Cape,or even Toy’s-R-Us, blew away in a sneeze. Under the circumstances, I told my daughter that she really didn’t need to make other babysitting arrangements.

Who knew that I would be snotty-boys’ next victim? I never get colds.

Can we just go back to 2013? So far, my new year has included a cold, and weather from the apocalypse. God is just really mad at us. Has anyone else noticed this? Should we sacrifice a politician?

In any case, back to my story of Christmas…fortunately, when my husband was suffering from ‘the cold,’ I decided that an emergency trip to Benny’s for toys was in order. I bought 3 nerf balls, 3 plastic recorders, one plastic trumpet, a set of puzzles and one stuffed animal with plastic teether things. And the kids bought lots of stuff. There were plenty of presents for the infants and toddlers to unwrap. In a stoke of genius (that my husband keeps claiming was his idea) I got more kid toys and labelled them ‘From Ane to Grandpa”, and ‘From Grandpa to Ane’. That way, we had presents for each other and we could keep the toys we really wanted at our own house.

So I bought the toys. Just saying’.

My husband promised me no tree.

But, while I was hiding under a blanket, playing free-cell, and blowing my nose, my husband, now newly recovered, was busy. He had found last years Christmas decorations deep in the closet of no return, and put them on the palm tree plants in the living room.

“It’s historically and geographically accurate.” he bragged.

I figured he would at least cook.

But, Fakemas, or…Epiphany…or whatever, is not yet a nationally recognized holiday. So on that Sunday morning, my husband was in the sound and video booth at our church.

I, of course, had to skip church because the turkey had to be in at 9.

My husband did leave me careful instructions.

“Don’t spend all morning on the Internet. Start early. Remember to pre-heat the oven. Remember that the turkey goes in the bottom half of the oven…Remember…”

Unfortunately he forgot to tell me to pre-heat the bottom oven. Who knew that our new oven, the one that can cook pies at the same time as it cooks turkeys, had two sets of oven controls?

Ahhh Christmas!

But , now that it has come and gone, I admit, it was glorious.

Despite its late start, the bird was ready in plenty of time. Meanwhile, the baby that had left two weeks earlier for Indiana had returned, now triumphant as a toddler.

We shouted. “Look at you! Look at you!” as he walked, rather than crawled, all over our house.

The older boy, our first grandchild, gave me a long, fierce hug. Snotty-boy was so happy to see his cousins, his nose forgot to run. Or at least, I didn’t have to wipe it.

My husband’s mother came down and marinated in the particular brand of chaos that would not have ever existed except for her. She does happily take credit for it all.

It was an impromptu, low-key celebration. No one spent inordinate amounts of time, or money. No one got very stressed. Even me. And it was Christmas, as evident by the blinking lights in the palm plant.

I think maybe we got it right this time.

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